How We Live Our Lives With A Little Help From Yoga
An integrated, holistic way of life ...
POSTED BY ANNE MARIE TOVEY ON 07/10/2020 @ 8:00AM
John Wooden said that things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out. This was shared with me by one of my yoga teachers, Lakshmi Voelker of Lakshmi Voelker Chair Yoga, and it made me pause for a moment to think about how I live and react to life ...
All ten principles work as a whole system and form the foundation of yoga practice!
copyright: gerd altmann / pixabay
It also reminded me again of Pantajali, the author of the Yoga Sutras, who clearly defines an eight-limbed path that forms the structural framework for an individual who wishes to embark on the yogic path.
"The eight limbs of yoga are traditionally presented as a hierarchical progression!"
However, Donna Farhi in her book Yoga Mind, Body & Spirit - a Return to Wholeness argues that this hierarchical approach reinforces the idea that yoga is something to 'get' rather than an integrated, holistic way of life.
She suggests that it is more useful to think of the eight limbs as the arms and legs of a body - connected to one another through the central body of yoga. She explains that as a child's limbs grow in proportion to one another, whatever limb of the eight limbs of practice, we focus upon inevitably causes the other limbs to grow as well.
This view is re-assuring as most of us start the yogic path through the asana (poses) practice which is the third of the eight limbs of yoga, effectively 'skipping' the first two limbs: Yamas and Niyamas, the philosophical guiding principles by which yogis live. This is where I am finding myself at the moment, because as my asana practice grows, the calling is there to grow the other limbs too.
"This brings me to the Yamas and Niyamas!"
These are the ten ethical principles that allow us to be at peace with ourselves, our family and our community. To demonstrate each, I quote examples provided by a yoga teacher, Kristin Weber of Subtle Yoga.
Yamas - Community ethics, focused on our behaviour and actions:
Ahimsa - Non-harming kindness
"I choose to behave with kindness towards myself, others and the universe"
Satya - Honesty, benevolent truthfulness
"I choose to speak and act truthfully, with integrity"
Asteya - Non-stealing, responsibility
"I honour what belongs to others. I set limits and respect boundaries"
Brahmacarya - Seeing everything as a manifestation of something greater
"I set an intention to see everyone and everything as interconnected. Hence, my actions have an impact. Same as the actions of others"
Aparigraha - Non-greed, sustainability
"I don't selfishly hoard more than I need and give to others what their due is. Not taking too much for myself"
Niyamas - self-regulation, ethics and self-care, personal observances:
Sauca - Cleanliness of body, clarity of mind
"I choose to be clean and clear in thought, word and action"
Santosa - Contentment
"I am content with myself and my life. I accept myself and others"
Tapas - Sacrifice, willingness to be strong, stand firm and serve - making an effort
"I am willing to make sacrifices to benefit myself and others in the long term"
Svadhyaya - Understanding, self-study
"I take time out to study, contemplate and deepen my understanding, based on reflection, not impulsive behaviour"
Ishvarapranidhana - Accepting support from something greater
"Is this for the higher good?"
The first principle is probably the most familiar to most of us and is quite often used in the context of yoga. It is worth noting though that all ten principles work as a whole system and forms the foundation of our yoga practice.
Until next time ...
ANNE MARIE TOVEY
I offer personalised 1-2-1 yoga classes, a 10-week Yoga4Health Programme commissioned by the NHS
or monthly subscription chair-based yoga classes on Zoom three times a week at 12 noon to 12:30pm
on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
Would you like to know more?
If anything I've written in this blog post resonates with you and you'd like to discover more about yoga and how it can enhance your life, do call me on 07768 314962, leave a comment below or click the Messenger icon in the bottom right of your browser to chat.
You can also visit my website at https://www.ageless-yoga.co.uk.
About Anne Marie Tovey ...
Anne Marie completed an 18-month yoga teacher training through Yoga Campus in London in February 2020 to share the magical benefits of yoga with others.
She also recently completed a PTSD and Yoga4Health certifications through The Minded Institute to help people dealing with trauma and those who want to start a healthier lifestyle through yoga.
Helping business owners to create a supportive working environment that will have a positive impact on their business. The benefits, that flow from the holistic and systemic approach from yoga, will have a rippling effect on the health of all employees, their families, their communities and all stakeholders from the bottom up and equally from the top down.
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